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Important steps in preparing Kent estates

Many readers in Kent may have thought about different estate planning options but have not yet taken the steps necessary to prepare their estates for inheritance.

The first important step is to compile a comprehensive list of one's assets. Effective estate planning depends upon a full accounting of the assets that will comprise a future inheritance, as well as a clear understanding of the manner in which assets are titled.

It is also important to consult with an estate planning professional. In addition to drafting critical legal documents, an estate planning professional can help identify tax issues and problems with property titles or beneficiary designations.

Step three is to decide who will inherit different estate assets. A serious conversation with family members may help avoid future conflicts during estate administration.

Step four involves taking measures to effectively manage assets during one's lifetime. Estate planning instruments such as a revocable trust and powers of attorney can help ensure that assets will be available to provide for a person's needs in the event of incapacity or long-term care.

The final and most important step in estate planning is to finish the job. All the planning in the world makes no difference when a strategy is never finalized. Finishing the job also means periodically reviewing and updating estate plans to make sure that beneficiary designations, asset titles and distribution plans continue to serve one's goals.

Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Even for families with modest assets, thoughtful and comprehensive estate planning will preserve the value of an inheritance and avoid the cumbersome and expensive probate process.

If you have questions about how to preserve your assets, stopping by our Seattle estate planning site may prove beneficial. Our firm regularly handles all the issues discussed here.

Source: Fox Business, "Five Steps for Preparing Your Estate for Inheritance," July 13, 2012

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